UAE businessman unable to see his grandchildren due to Trump ban

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Nizar Mouad (left) during a family gathering in Alaska.
Nizar Mouad (left) during a family gathering in Alaska.

Abu Dhabi - The man says he would not have cared about the travel ban but for his two grandchildren.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Tue 31 Jan 2017, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 Jan 2017, 11:05 PM

 The nightmares of living in the US post 9/11 are still fresh in the mind of Syrian businessman Nizar Mouad.
The rising tide of Islamophobia that had engulfed America reached his doorsteps in less than a week when a hate-spewing mob burned down his Public Relations company in Alaska. Mouad and his 39 employees were rendered jobless, and the man lost around two million US Dollars.
"There was a climate of fear. It was painful and difficult to survive in the US as a Muslim and as a Syrian in years ahead," 58-year-old Mouad told Khaleej Times.
He moved to the UAE in 2010 leaving behind the fears of being targeted for his religion and skin colour. He now runs a real estate business in Abu Dhabi.
But opening his old wounds is the latest 90-day entry ban imposed by the Trump government on Muslims from seven countries - Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.
"I was planning to visit the US to see my two grandchildren for the first time. Now I cannot go because of my Syrian passport," said Mouad who is divorced. His wife and two grown up children are US citizens living there.
The man says he would not have cared about the travel ban but for his two grandchildren.
"I miss them. I have seen them only in pictures. Now I do not know when I will be able to hold them in my lap," he said.
Mouad says he is a two-time victim of bigotry and prejudice.
"I had endured it all during my years in the US post 9/11. I was attacked and my company burned down because I represented Islam and the Arab voice in the US."
According to him the FBI investigations into the hate crime drew a blank, and he did not receive a penny in compensation.
"Life began from scratch but it was never the same. I was a US citizen and paid my taxes. I tried to move on but I was never made to feel I belonged there," said Mouad.
He claims he even started a network called 'Bridge Builders' in Alaska that organised monthly get-togethers with people from all nationalities.
But eventually Mouad decided to call it quits and leave the US for good.
Mouad says not even for a moment he had regretted the decision in his seven years in the UAE.
"The moment I stepped out of the plane in Abu Dhabi, I knew this is my home. This felt like heaven."
"I have my friends and family in the US. I feel for them. But I would never want to be in their shoes ever again," said Mouad.

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